Rubella is an infectious viral disease resulting in mild illness with rash. In adults and older children, other symptoms may include low-grade fever, malaise, lymphadenopathy, and upper respiratory symptoms. Rubella is spread from person to person via airborne transmission or droplets shed from respiratory secretions of infected persons. Since 2000, fewer than 200 cases have been reported annually in the U.S. Nationally, a record low number of 18 cases were reported in 2002. No cases of rubella were reported in Indiana in 2002. One case was reported in 1999, and this is the only case reported in the five-year period 1998-2002.
Because of the low incidence of rubella, health care providers who suspect that a patient has rubella should have a serological specimen drawn for testing. An IgM rubella-specific serologic analysis must be conducted on all reported cases for confirmation. The specimen should be drawn at least three days following onset of rash.
Prevention of Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) is the primary objective of rubella vaccination programs. CRS can cause serious damage to virtually all organ systems manifesting itself primarily in deafness, neurologic abnormalities, and eye and cardiac defects. There were no CRS cases reported in Indiana in 2002.